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Taking control of your finances is not always easy, but there are some apps that make the task easier. There are different apps for different purposes, and comprehensive tools that help you track your budget and spending. If you are not sure what app to choose, here are some important factors to think about.
1. Your Primary Goal
At the end of the day, you might just want better cash flow. But there are many ways to achieve this. Decide whether your objective is to pay down debt, increase savings, cut expenses, or monitor your budget. Most personal finance apps have the tools to help you succeed with all of these, but each one has a particular focus.
Here are just a few examples. Clarity can help cancel those subscriptions you don’t use. Penny, which has been acquired by Credit Karma, can help you track your credit score. Mint helps you to budget and track spending in real time. Acorns lets you “round up” purchases, and you automatically invest the difference.
2. Your Level of Financial Complexity
One app may focus on your goal, but another one may handle your entire financial picture if it is particularly complex. Perhaps you own property, have money market investments, debt, and expenses. An app like Banktivity helps you to consolidate all of your accounts into one place. That way, you know your entire status at a glance. This app comes with a built-in calendar, so you can see when bills are due.
3. Those Technical Details
Many financial apps link directly to your bank accounts. This is handy, but it may violate your agreement with your bank. Check the terms of that agreement or call your financial institution before you link up. In the event of a hack, you may be liable for losses if you’ve given a third-party app access to your personal information.
4. “Nice-to-Have” Features
Like with all apps, there are some features that are fun to use. You Need a Budget lets you set up a budget for the week, month, or for special events like birthdays or winter holidays. Mint gives your real-time credit score. Wally lets you take a picture of receipts instead of typing out transactions.
5. Your Level of Commitment
Yes, you are committed to your financial goals, but maybe you don’t want to be committed to a particular app. Check out a free trial before signing up long-term, or opt for a free personal finance tool if that suits your purposes. Why spend extra money when you’re trying to save?
The number of apps available is almost dizzying! The good news is that some apps are better for you, given your individual goals and technical preferences. Check them out once you have a general idea of what you want to achieve, and get excited about getting your financial life back on track.